Canada’s Para ice hockey team waited four years for a Paralympic rematch against the USA.
Star forward Billy Bridges said that, like many of us, he felt more like 12.
“The whole world has been through something unbelievable and devastating and horrible. And, once you finally get here, it certainly gives you perspective on how slow the days seem to go, but how fast four years can go by,” Bridges told CBC. Sports.
The Americans beat Canada in the gold medal game at the 2018 Paralympics in Pyeongchang after scoring the equalizer with 38 seconds remaining before winning in overtime.
A low-stakes version of the rivalry played out between Canada and the USA to open the tournament in Beijing, with the Canadians losing 5-0.
CLOCK | Canada drops Paralympic opener:
James Dunn’s hat-trick sends Canada to Para ice hockey semifinals
James Dunn of Wallacetown, Ontario, scored three goals as Canada blanked Korea 6-0 to advance directly to the Para ice hockey tournament semifinals at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games. 2:19
The high-risk version seems inevitable.
Canada went on to crush the Koreans 6-0 and will face them again in the semifinals on Thursday at 11 pm ET.
The Americans, who also beat Korea 9-1 in the round robin, will face China at 7:05 am ET on Friday.
The finale goes on Saturday at 11 pm ET. But Bridges and his teammates are being careful not to look too far ahead.
“It’s human nature to think about the future. And I know how important it is to win that semi-final game because you win the semi-final and boom, you’re a Paralympic medalist. Trying to stay balanced and in the moment and make sure we win that game Bridges said.
Canada loses 5-0 to USA in Para ice hockey group stage at Beijing Paralympics
USA Captain Josh Pauls had the game-winner in a shutout victory over Canada. 0:42
Bridges, from Summerside, PEI, is the only Canadian to record at least 100 goals and 100 assists in international matches.
He is the oldest player on a team that features a pair of 21-year-olds, including James Dunn, who scored a hat-trick against Korea. The team also has skaters from BC to Newfoundland.“We knew what to expect from the US coming into this tournament and I firmly believe they showed us all their weapons a few days ago. And I still think we still have a lot up our sleeves,” Bridges said.
The veteran noted that players like Dunn, Liam Hickey (“the fastest player in the world”) and captain Tyler McGregor (“with those silky hands”) may only have gained confidence after seeing the puck hit the back of the net against Korea. .
They’ll have to do it again, against the same goalie, for Canada to get their long-awaited revenge.
‘We still have a lot to learn’
Bridges has been in this position before when it all fell apart.
“At the Vancouver Paralympics, we looked past Japan in the semifinals and looked at Team USA and what we would have to do to beat them. And even though we beat Japan 38-7 or something, we lost that game. Bridges said.
“It is very important not to look further every day because we still have a lot to learn today and tomorrow.”
And so the Canadian Para hockey team will bow to the cliché theory of “one day at a time” and focus on the task at hand.
It’s been four years, anyway. Or maybe 12. In any case, there’s nothing to do now except prepare for the moment the team has been waiting for.
And when does it happen? Bridges and the rest of his squad will be ready.
“I feel that all men have the ability to do their individual roles better than anyone else in the world.”